Bangkok, February 19, 2014
Today I was invited to speak at Khun O’s (my Rotary Counselor ‘Penny’) club, to share with their members more about my work at LAFLA and the Fellowship program. It’s the second time I attend a Rotary meeting in a language that I don’t speak (in Los Angeles I got to attend the meeting of the Iranian-American Rotary Club near Beverly Hills -very interesting), but again I was lucky to get one of the members translate to me some of the interesting presentations that community members were doing about the needs of one of the local schools and potential projects in which the Club could get involved.
As I introduced myself, some things came to my mind: I’ve been working with survivors of violent conflict for the past decade and that even when with years, I get to see the transformation of my clients as they integrate to the US, I know how much they long going back home and how often their countries are no longer safe. My hope is that as Rotary builds this amazing network of peacebuilders, more of us can contribute make the world a better and safer place (as cliché as it can sound). It’s not enough to have services for them and make them feel comfortable in a new country, it’s important to address the roots of the problem, the reason why they had to escape, hoping that one day they can return safely and give back.
I’m happy to report that the LA Club 5 Flag is now hanging in Bangkok. A true Angelena -even when born so far away from that city- I explained to them the two icons featured in it: the beautiful Disney Hall (home to our dear LA Phil) and the LA City Hall (also the Daily Planet in the original Superman!). I’m very thankful for the opportunity to talk to them and for their hospitality and lovely gifts! Here’s a picture with the members present that day: